State And Local Governments Increase The Minimum Wage And Pass Paid Family Leave Laws
State and local governments have recently passed a flurry of minimum wage increases and paid family leave laws. Most of the attention has been on increases in the minimum wage to $15.00 (in New York by 2019, and in California by 2022). While the minimum wage increases will have an impact on employers’ bottom-lines, equally impactful from both an economic and operational standpoint (and much less covered by the media) are paid medical leave requirements. The State of New York and the City of San Francisco just passed the most robust paid family leave laws in the nation, giving employees in New York twelve weeks of paid leave, and giving employees in San Francisco six weeks of paid leave. The State of California expanded its existing paid leave law, and the State of Vermont and the City of Spokane, Washington also passed paid sick leave laws earlier this year. These recent laws are in addition to those already passed by states and local governments over the last few years. Unlike minimum wage increases in the past, nearly all of the increases recently passed by state and local governments contain automatic annual increases, some tied to increases in the consumer price index. These piecemeal minimum wage and paid medical leave laws present a challenge for employers with operations in multiple states and cities and particularly for employers entering new markets. Employers must be cognizant of the state and municipal laws where they operate and review any automatic changes annually.